Over the holidays I’ve been sequestered in the writing cave. It’s been productive; in fact I finished the final installment of a trilogy I’ve been trying to put to bed for the past few years. When I finally came out of the cave, it was January 1st and you know what that means. It’s time to turn random thoughts into resolutions and call it a blog.
Be more selfish
We devote a fair amount of time to helping others. We coach, encourage, and share our findings with our colleagues but we need to put ourselves first. We need to build our own mailing lists. We need to hone our own writing skills. We have to build our own support groups. These efforts have to come first before we help anyone else. Keep paying it forward but consider being a bit more selfish in the coming year.
Follow the laws of attribution
In our cross-talking, social-media-worshipping world it’s often easy to overlook the source of the material. Things happen quickly, and we try to mention the author or original poster’s name but there are times when this gets forgotten. I’ve seen this happen when a blog is shared and the re-poster takes credit for the content in the comments section. And I’ve seen Facebook posts copied verbatim where the re-poster doesn’t clarify the source. Resolve to give credit where credit is due. It’s only fair.
Trust your intuition
Blaze your own path because nobody has walked that particular road before you. If you had the opportunity to interview some of the top-selling indie authors today, you’re likely to find one or two unique habits they have that no one else was thinking of doing before they did them. That next idea that will help you connect with readers is right there, waiting to be explored. Like they used to say in the Grotto, “If it’s not hurting anybody and you’re not breaking any laws – go for it.”
Continue to grow and learn
I’ve been taking online courses. I just finished a screenwriting course and I’m about to start a novel-writing class taught by James Patterson. I know I’ll learn a lot from the class. Resolve to keep learning about everything. If you’re open, the growth will happen.
Set a goal and make lists
For the past few years, making lists of tasks that help me achieve my overall goals has been essential in terms of moving forward. Place the bar as low or high as you like and if you need to modify the list in three months do it. It’s very important that you have attainable goals but it’s even more important to clarify those goals and reach them by writing tasks on a to-do list.
Know and study your market. We’re writers so we have to be reading. And, if you need a recommendation, let me know and I’ll gladly lead you to my author page.
Feed your creativity
There are things that I do that help me feel more creative. Running and listening to music put me in a place where the ideas come. They also help me solve problems in my plot. Find out what feeds your muse and utilize it to help you create.
There are virtually no excuses why we are not writing. I know of a woman who gets up at 5am before her five children are awake so that she has an hour or two to write. I know of people who are totally physically exhausted at the end of the day but still manage to get a few words down. I’ve seen elderly people who slowly, carefully, handwrite their stories. I’ve seen others who need the words transcribed because their eyesight won’t allow them to put the words on the page. They’ve found help and they’re getting their stories told. We have no excuses. We need to put the work in and create.
I don’t always enjoy the process. I enjoy the satisfaction of completing a project, I enjoy when the story comes together, and I enjoy beginning. But I don’t enjoy all of it. We have to remember that only a small percentage of the world’s population has written a book. If you’re on your way to joining this exclusive club (that’s growing rapidly every year), or you’re already there, take pride in the fact that you can and have done it. And, try to enjoy the entire process, laborious as it sometimes can be.
I have a list of goals that I put together at the beginning of every year. They’re more specific than these resolutions. My completion percentage has gone from 50 to 90% over the past five years. I’m happy with 90%. In fact, if I fall to 70 or 80% next year that’ll be okay, too. There’s no point reaching perfection just yet. I have lots of time to get there. Happy New Year and good luck achieving your goals in the coming months.
17 thoughts on “Everyday Writing Resolutions for Self-Publishers”
Good thoughts, Martin. I think we do need to lift our heads up periodically and take stock, think about the larger picture. The start of a new year is a good time to do that. Balance is the key. Between writing, editing, teaching and mentoring, there’s always that tug between doing what I want/need and doing what I can for others. It takes constant adjustment, but it’s worth it. Very productive and satisfying. Good post.
Yes, balance is definitely the key, I agree. Thanks Melissa.
Good stuff, Martin. But about that discipline part…um…
Yeah, I know. Me too. Thanks Yvonne.
Thank you Martin,
For a fresh look to help us think about our needs as writers, to be active and not passive in all we do. to finish what we intend to finish in our writings and in the matketing of our work, too.
Sounds good, JB. Good luck.
I’m with Yvonne. I like all of them except the “discipline” one. As any teacher who ever had the honour of my presence in class would tell you (loudly and with feeling), I’m a fan of motivation, not discipline 🙂
Whatever works for you Gordon. Good luck.
Thank you Martin, I enjoyed everything about your article today!
I have a friend that is such a great writer but always says she doesn’t have time. I mentioned to her that once she starts, she won’t want to stop. Writing is a fun craft and can be meaningful to others in so many ways.
My writing is different than most here, as I write children’s stories. I have one that is on the back burner that is much larger and have had more fun coming up with ideas for it. Your article has inspired me to work on that one again.
Have a great week!
I’m glad it helped you Rosie. Thanks very much for commenting and good luck with your project!
With all the craziness going on in the world, I find myself writing about things in my blog more often. I blog every week now. I write something about my books the first week of the month and the third week of the month. In between, I write whatever strikes my fancy. Usually holidays fall in between so I might write about what a particular holiday means to me or used to mean to me when I was a child. I might get political and write an opinion piece or I might just post a music trailer from one of my books. What I’m saying is, there’s so much to write about now. Several years ago, I had a blog but after the first couple of months I couldn’t keep up with it. Now, I’m having fun. with it.
That’s an excellent point. I was told a long time ago to look at blogging as writing practice, and it’s true. I’m sure blogging has helped me become a better writer.
Keep having fun and thank you for commenting!
Writing is work, but it’s the kind of work that makes ‘play’ feel anaemic. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂
My pleasure. Thanks for commenting A.C.
Great post, Martin. Enjoyed it. Making time to read has been a task for me since becoming indie. I’m rereading all of my favorites from the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman to a raft of Alexander McCall Smith’s list and my all time favorite, The African Queen. Too often I’ve put my writing aside to help others. You make a good point to serve our own writing career first…Another point is that I have seen my blogs posted on other sites with no ping back. Annoying. I spent 2016 building my mailing lists. I encourage indie authors to build that subscriber list and co-promote with like minded indie authors. It is like an outreach program and it works to reach new readers. Wishing you every good thing in 2017 and beyond.
And to you, Jackie. Best of luck in 2017.
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